Surgery for Arthritis
Arthritis is a very common condition that causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and even disability. Surgery may be an option for patients with advanced-stage arthritis who cannot complete the smallest of tasks without experiencing a worsening of symptoms. Conservative treatment will be your first option before your orthopedic doctor recommends surgery.
What Causes Arthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting some 21 million Americans alone. It causes the cartilage covering the end of the bones to gradually wear away, resulting in painful bone on bone rubbing. Abnormal bone growths, called spurs or osteophytes can grow in the joint. The bone spurs add to the pain and swelling, while disrupting movement. All of the joints may be affected by Osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of the most serious and disabling types of arthritis. It is a long-lasting autoimmune disease that causes the synovium to become inflamed and painful. It also causes joint swelling and deterioration. Pain, stiffness, and swelling are usually ongoing symptoms, even during rest.
The type of surgery that you receive will depend on your type of arthritis, its severity, and your general health. Your doctor will discuss appropriate surgical options to help you decide what is best for you.
There are several types of surgical procedures for arthritis. The surgeon may remove the diseased or damaged joint lining (synovium) in an operation called a synovectomy. The bones in a joint may be realigned with a procedure called an osteotomy. The bones in a joint may also be fused together to prevent joint motion and relieve pain.
In advanced arthritis, the damaged joint can be replaced with an artificial one. Artificial joints are made of metal, plastic, ceramics, or a combination of the materials. The material selected depends on the reason for the surgery, as well as which joint is being replaced. Joint replacement can provide significant pain relief and improved mobility.
Recovery from Arthritis Surgery
Recovery from arthritis surgery is very individualized. Your recovery time will depend on the extent of your condition, the joint that was involved, and the type of surgery that you had. Your doctor will let you know what you may expect.
Generally, traditional open joint surgeries take several months to heal, depending on the joint. Minimally invasive surgery and arthroscopic surgery use smaller incisions and typically heal in a shorter amount of time, from several weeks to a few months. Your doctor may restrict your activity for a short time following your surgery. In most cases, rehabilitation is recommended to mobilize and strengthen the joint.
Speak with an Orthopedic Specialist Today
Are you suffering from a recent injury? Make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists today to start your healing journey. OrthoArizona has nearly two dozen offices throughout the Valley, each focused on quality care, compassion, and excellent customer service. Since 1994, OrthoArizona has been dedicated to compassionate care of the highest quality.
The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and are not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or other educational medical material.